This healthy quinoa salad with sun dried tomato pesto is going to be your best friend this summer. An absolute superfood loaded with flavor and beautiful texture.
What haven’t I said about quinoa yet ? I’m like totally in love with it still, I feel great about eating it and If you don’t already know it, quinoa is a complete protein. That without even having to add any grilled chicken to it. Which of course you can if you really want to, I add some for the Batman.
Quinoa is also gluten-free and incredibly nutritious. A healthy quinoa salad a day might just keep the doctor away kids, no kidding. Quinoa contains all the amino acids necessary to maintain life, and if that hasn’t convinced you to embrace quinoa yet, I don’t know what will.
My healthy quinoa salad changes with the seasons and the produce available. I came across some pretty organic sun-dried tomatoes at the store and so I decide on a sun dried tomato pesto to dress the tiny quinoa seeds in. But first I rehydrated them in some hot water so I can cook the quinoa in a lot of flavor. Absolutely worth the extra little step.
For me, a wanna be vegetarian, this healthy quinoa salad is perfect as is, scooped into a jar to go as a meal or side dish. It has a pretty smooth finish that you can dress up a little if you like.
I initially wanted to finish it with a few pieces of creamy goat cheese, but surprise surprise, someone jacked it from the fridge, and I am investigating the matter. So now I am left with a vegan extra healthy quinoa salad that in all honesty is perfect as is.
If you are looking for bolder flavor you might wanna try the Pesto Quinoa Salad I made a little while ago, coated in lots of spinach garlic pesto and finished with all the mediterranean goodies, like roasted peppers, tomatoes and artichokes. And If you really have some time on your hands, I would strongly suggest adventuring into a batch of these Supernatural Quinoa Mushroom Cakes, they have my heart.
- 2 c quinoa
- 3 1/2 c water hot
- 3.4 oz sun dried tomatoes
- 1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
- 2/3 c pine nuts or pumpkin seeds toasted
- 1 c baby arugula
- 1 clove garlic grated
- 1 c fresh green peas steamed
- 1/4 c goat cheese optional
- Pea shoots for garnish
- 1 lbbest grilled chicken optional
In a medium bowl add the sun dried tomatoes and cover them with the hot water. Allow them to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes until rehydrated and cool enough to handle.
Transfer the sun dried tomatoes to a cutting board and slice them. Reserve the water.
In a medium size sauce pan add the quinoa and the water the sun dried tomato have soaked in. Bring to a gentle simmer and season with a pinch of sea salt. Cover with a lid and cook for about 18 minutes until all liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let the quinoa sit covered for 20 minutes before fluffing it with a fork.
Meanwhile make the sun dried tomato pesto. Reserve a handful of the sliced tomatoes for garnish and add the rest to a small food processor together with 1/3 cup of the toasted nuts, the grated garlic and 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil. Process until smooth but with a little texture. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Transfer the cooked quinoa to the bowl with the sun dried tomato pesto and gently toss to coat all over. Adjust seasonings to your taste with more sea salt if desired.
Add the baby arugula and green peas to the bowl and mix to combine.
Transfer the quinoa to a serving platter and serve garnished with the reserved sun dried tomatoes, pea shoots and a few baby arugula leaves. Sprinkle with the remaining toasted nuts and grilled chicken if desired.